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The Vegetable Gardener's Bible, 2nd Edition 2nd Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 491 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1603424752
ISBN-10: 160342475X
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Edward C. Smith is the best-selling author of The Vegetable Gardener's Bible and The Vegetable Gardener's Container Bible. For more than 30 years he and his wife, Sylvia, have lived off the grid in Vermont, in a house they built on land they cleared by hand. Together, the grow more than 100 varieties of vegetables, fruits, and herbs in their 2,000 square feet of gardens and containers.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Storey Publishing, LLC; 2 edition (December 2, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 160342475X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1603424752
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 1 x 10.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (491 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,462 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
UPDATE: I just had to come back a year later to reaffirm just how much I depend on this book. Seriously, it's all that and then some! My poor paperback is so beat up on the outside. But the inside is holding up very well, so is the actual binding. I've tried so many times to put it away, but it ends up coming right back out shortly after. Anytime I get to thinking about growing something or if I want to improve things in the garden, check the PH, nutrients, etc. back to the book I go. I really do highly recommend it to anyone who isn't yet a "master" gardener. Who knows, they might even learn something from it! I think the reason it is so popular, other than the data being dependable, is the layout is so common sense. The whole back of the book has pages dedicated to each vegetable and you just go in alphabetical order to access that page. So my point is, if you are floundering around Amazon trying to pinpoint which gardening book to start with, this is it!

ORIGINAL REVIEW: I started gardening for the first time last year and have used this book to the point that the edges are curled and it looks like it's 10 years old! It tells a little about everything. Whenever I need to know how deep to plant, spacing or what nutrients plants need, it's all right there on one page! I believe it is more focused on northern gardens, but I live in the deep south and it still came in quite handy! I never actually put this book away. If I do, it comes right back out within a few days. It is a great introduction to gardening organically and tells enough to get you started on everything. If you need more information you would need to research further, but this book provides enough to get you going for sure. I give it 5 stars for the layout, pictures, information and ease of use! Happy gardening!
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Format: Hardcover
I own a number of books on vegetable gardening, as I have been gardening [and collecting topical books] for over 35 years in 7 different sites. I've observed that in many garden how-to books, the authors get very carried away with themselves, touting "my way" as the only way. To me, that's kind of off-putting, due to each garden is so different from all others, even in a neighboring yard.

I don't get a lot of the "my way" attitude from this book. It's chock full of useful information, but the author is careful to say there is more than one way to do many of the chores and tasks related to the vegetable garden, as well as options for varieties of plants and seeds. One thing you won't find is a bunch of recipes or cooking ideas, which is fine with me. I don't cook in the garden, and I have plenty of recipes in my RECIPE books - don't need them in the gardening books.

The text is in an easy conversational style, which I appreciated. The book offers sections on preparation, composting, fertilizer, pest control. The back part of the book is vegetable specific, with tips on how to grow various veggies along with the names of proven varieties and comparisons of those. Lastly, there is a section on herb gardening, which is an art in and of itself. This book will serve as a wonderful basic reference for anyone starting out with their first (or second or 20th) vegetable garden. After all, when it comes to gardening, in a sense don't we start all over again every year?!
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Format: Paperback
I saw this book advertised as being essential for vegetable gardeners "anywhere in the country." That may be true if you're first starting out. I did learn some stuff from this book.

However, I live in North Carolina, and much of it didn't apply to me. I found information on heating the ground and extending the season, etc. much too heavily weighted against living with heat and humidity and providing good air circulation, etc. Also, he leaves out many mulches, gardening practices and pests from the South.

The author talks about many good garden practices, but you can find that information in many places. I agree with another reviewer who suggested some of the in-depth seed catalogs, like Johnny's. (Johnny's has been invaluable to me, and they're based in Maine ....)

Also, the heft of this book didn't seem worth it for the graphics, cute headers, info boxes, etc. Some liken it to a coffee table book, but I'm reminded more of a middle school textbook.

I'm glad so many have reviewed this book so highly, and I hope that has translated into many happy gardeners! If you are a Northern gardener, I can see how it could be your "bible."

I'd recommend the Sqaure Foot Gardening book by Mel Bartholomew for someone just starting out- or anyone, really, the Southern Living books if you're south of Mason-Dixon, extensive seed catalogs, or even the Ortho series (or something similar you can find at a garden center) before I'd recommend this expensive, weighty tome that is pretty to look at but short of hard, useful info in my opinion. Wish I had known this guy was writing from a Vermont gardening perspective before I bought this book.
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Format: Paperback
I am the kind of person who will check out dozens of reference books on a topic before I pick one to buy. This one seemed far and away the best vegetable gardening book I looked at. Here are the reasons:

1. Made for a beginner, like me. It starts from the very beginning stages of choosing a spot, planning a garden and includes clear and logical arguments for why the method of wide raised beds is best.

2. The language is friendly, practical and to the point. I don't want to have to pick useful bits out of someone's rambling gardening philosophy, but nor do I want a book so technical I don't know what I'm looking at or too basic to be useful. This is the perfect balance for me.
I bought this book and literally sat down to read it (tables and side boxes included) cover to (almost) cover in one afternoon. I'm not someone who reads text books that way! I'm a skimmer. But this was so interesting that I wanted to read each section. I learned so much even before setting foot in the soil and didn't struggle or feel bored by it. You feel like you are getting a private gardening lesson from an expert who really wants you to love it.

3. There are diagrams and photos, but not so many that you feel like it could be half the size and half the price. It's got a New Englander's practicality to the photo selection and each one has a purpose.

4. It includes very clear instructions and suggestions for EVERY step, from reading seed catalogs to building the raised beds to starting seeds to various methods for weeding or preventing pests... it is extremely thorough.

5. The section on each vegetable is not cursory or an afterthought. The author includes a detailed standard table of all the variables (sun, soil temp, ph, etc.
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